Hate that bit of flab you get when you put a bra on? That’s your bra muffin. This Pilates upper ab workout will banish it – fast!
Throughout the week you’ll find me running a successful Pilates studio in the Hunter Valley.
I teach just over 80 women each week that I am lucky to see 1-4 times. The ‘bra-muffin’ is a top 3 concern that new clients in my studio tell me about or my existing clients want to target.
Here is a Pilates ab workout that I’d give to my own clients. All you need is yourself, a mat to cushion your back and 10 minutes. Easy as. This workout is also suitable for anyone to do, however, I would completely avoid it for people with acute neck and back injuries, those who are pregnant or have just had a baby and those who have osteoporosis.
10 Minute Pilates Ab Workout
Chest Lift – 6-8 repetitions
Breath pattern: Inhale to prepare, exhale to curl up, inhale to hold, exhale to relax.
How to: Start on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Your hands will be interlaced behind your head. Keep your rib cage and hips relaxed. Inhale at the bottom and exhale to curl up with your head neck and shoulders. Ensure you aren’t pulling on your head or neck to come up, feel as though you’re pulling your rib cage towards your hips as you curl up. Hold at the top and inhale. Exhale to relax back down.
Advanced chest lift with arm arcs – 2-4 repetitions
Breath pattern: Build upon the exercise above, after you flex higher you will breathe in to reach your arms to the ceiling and then exhale to press them back down.
How to: You’ll stay up at the top of your chest lift, keeping your body still and reach your arms to the ceiling without dropping backwards. Then press your arms back alongside the body. I like to do 3-5 of these feeling as though I’m narrowing the waist whenever I press my arms down.
Chest lift with rotation – 4-8 repetitions each side
Breath pattern: Exhale to twist to one side, inhale to return to centre.
How to: After you’ve done the entire saga above, you place the hands behind the head and remain in a high chest lift position. Breathe out to twist to one side keeping the body still from the belly button down. Imagine as though you’re aiming your opposite rib cage towards the opposite hip bone.
Single leg stretch – 6-12 repetitions each side
Breath pattern: Exhale to one side, inhale as the legs pass through the centre.
How to: Curl up with the head, neck and shoulders and take the legs to table top. Interlace the fingers and place the hands on top of the left knee, drawing it in towards the body. Stay lifted and breathe in as the legs pass through the centre. Alternate from side to side.
Double leg stretch – 6-12 repetitions
Breath pattern: Inhale to reach, exhale to return
How to: Curl up in a nice little ball by hugging the knees into your chest and remaining lifted with the upper body. Breath in to reach the arms up to the ceiling and the legs in front of you. Keep your lower back pressed down into the mat and your tummy muscles drawn tight. As you exhale, circle the arms out to the side and draw the legs back in towards the chest.
Criss cross – 6-12 repetitions each side
Breath pattern: Exhale to twist to one side, inhale through the centre.
How to: Your hands will come back behind the head and you’ll rotate towards one side, extending the opposite leg. Breathe in to take the legs and body back through centre and exhale repeat to the other side.
Rolling like a ball – 6-12 repetitions
Breath pattern: Inhale to roll back, exhale to roll up.
How to: Hug the knees into the chest and curl into a ball. Breathe in to roll back landing between your shoulder blades, exhale to roll back up. To advance this, place the elbows on the knees and keep them there as you do the movement – it’s hard!
Side-lying leg lifts – 8-20 repetitions
Breath pattern: Inhale to lift, exhale to lower
How to: Lay on your side in a straight line with your hand either on your hip or on the floor in front of you. Squeeze your inner thighs together and breath out to float both legs 3 inches off the floor. This works the side of your waist! Exhale to place them back down. To make it harder, hold the legs at the top and add a few arm lifts. Repeat both sides.
Assisted teaser – 4-8 repetitions
Breath pattern: Inhale at the bottom, exhale to roll up, inhale at the top, exhale to lower down.
How to: Lay on your back with your legs in table top and grab behind the back of the thighs. Breathe out to roll up to a seated position while keeping your shins parallel to the floor. Hold at the top and then relax back down. Make this harder by reaching the arms behind you and then lifting to the ceiling as you curl up. You can even make it harder by adding some fancy arm work at the top.
I hope you like this abdominal workout. Make sure you follow with my stretching DVD to get a comprehensive workout!